we killed our podcast
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Why We Stopped Our Podcast?

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

I was and I still am a big fan of podcasts. I used to listen podcasts every morning when I was on my way to work, or got home from my work. But this was an year ago and today I don’t have the same amount of time to start listening a bunch of podcasts

Today I’m listening to only 3 or max 4 podcasts per week. I’m a big fan of “PNR With This Old Marketing Podcast” by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. I made a habit out of listening to those guys every Friday or Saturday when I’m home cleaning up my house. That’s my way of listening to something I like while doing something useful around the house.

Also, I love listening to the social media series of the “Social Media Science” podcast by Buffer and sometimes I listen to the “The James Altucher Show” especially when I’m traveling and I’m not in the mood to work or write a blog post.

And because I am a big fan of podcasts, last year I started doing some research on the state of podcasts. How many people listen to podcasts. How many podcasts are being created each week. How big is this industry.

So with all of this data in mind, I decided to start a podcast for Bannersnack.

A different podcast from what I’ve listened to until then. (wow, such an amazing idea, right?).

So, I talked with our team and we came up with the idea of talking in 5-10 minutes about the history of advertising and design.

We did the research, we found topics, we recorded our podcast and uploaded it on our website.

Then, came the promotion part for which I was in charge.

Our podcast was a weekly show in which someone talked about the history of an advertising agency such as Leo Burnett or talked about the life of Jonathan Ive or David Carson. We also tried to make it shorter than 5 minutes, longer than 5 minutes, or even 10 minutes (a/b testing is a very dangerous work to do)

But then we looked at our data and we didn’t see as many subscribers as we wanted. Even more, we didn’t see any social media share or a shout out from our community about the podcast.

We tried almost everything.

I said “almost” because I believe that there were a few tactics we didn’t try. But hey, who said that we are perfect? We tried Facebook advertising, uploading the podcast on our blog and promoting the blog posts, uploading on different channels or reaching out to influencers.

According to SoundCloud, the most listened episodes are the ones in which we talked about Chip Kidd

So, after 17 episodes, we stopped the creation of our podcast.

We didn’t kill it, we just stopped it. I don’t know for how long.

But with this experiment, I’ve learned a few things that I want to share with you. And I hope that these will help you do your job better.

It’s not the type of experiment article in which I tell you what to do to get more traffic on your website through a podcast, what to do to get more subscribers or other marketing tactics.

It’s an article in which I just share my ideas about how I failed in this type of content.

Yes, I failed and I assume it.

If it’s trendy, it doesn’t mean that it will work

Some may say that podcasts are a trendy thing or a cool piece of content that your marketing department should have. It’s hard to get the ROI out of it in a few months and it’s also difficult to get it in front of the audience. Of course, unless you do something extravagant, invest ton of money in advertising or you have a strong brand awareness built on the internet.

Looking at Google trends, we could say that the podcast is a searched and trendy term, but not in the explosive way.

Google trends podcast

So, because I love to consume this type of content, I thought that it would be a great tactic for our content strategy too.

Well my dear content marketer friend, try not to fall into the same trap I did:

if you love a type of content, it doesn’t mean that your audience should love it too!

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting in new challenges but I also love learning by experiencing, even if this means that I must fail to learn something on my own.

And because I thought that podcasts are something sexy, I talked with my team and convinced them to try them too.

I’ve also written several articles on my personal blog and one of them got shared by Jay Baer himself and also let me a comment.

So, consuming all this audio content, reading about podcasts and also writing a few articles about this subject, made me think that it will be enough to start one, make our audience listen to it, get more users and also some ROI.

It wasn’t as easy as we thought. It was hard, very hard, too hard! Because we thought that if we start recording, uploading  and promoting it, it will get the results we wanted it to get.

But we were wrong!

Here is an interview with Robert Rose on how him and Joe Pullizi record their weekly PNR episodes. Yes, it’s an old interview, but guess what? It can still be a good start for those who want to get on this wagon.

“Be constant” – I’m so sick of this term

But let’s be honest, being constant in a field can help you become the best in that certain field.

Gladwell said that when you practice something for 10,000 hours you achieve the mastery in that field. Well, for me, this means that you need to invest 10,000 hours, start a routine and never look at what results you got in those hours.

I heard/read the phrase “be constant” so many times in a content marketing context that I got sick of it.

But… what if it’s the real deal? Ok, if we exclude “creativity” , “influencer” , “paid advertising” terms in the promotion of a podcast context, maybe it would work.

John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneur on Fire) is constant in his strategy – interviewing entrepreneurs. Robert and Joe are constant in their strategy – a weekly podcast about news in content marketing, rants and raves and a content marketing example. “Design Matters” by Debbie Millman is the world’s first podcast about design and she’s still doing it (as far as I know).

It doesn’t matter if you are not in the mood, you don’t have enough inspiration or you might have a few technical issues.

Fix them, stand up and hit the record button.

We’ve done that for almost 17 weeks. But we had weeks in which we didn’t upload any podcast.

Why? Maybe we got lazy, or maybe we got discouraged  because we didn’t see any results.


Yes. Social media shares. Subscribers. Listeners. Comments. Website traffic.

Anything that could give us a few pushes to move forward. We didn’t get them.

After the 10th episode we uploaded, I started for searching  for strategies and tactics on how to promote a podcast, what are the next steps in making it successful, how to get in front of many users that will love it and also give their blessing –  click on our Subscribe button.

So I found a few tactics:

  1. Influencer marketing –  Most of the smart people I know practice this. Why? Because influencer marketing is more than just paying an influencer who creates content on different social channels or writing blog posts. Why do you want to reach these influencers? Are they somebody who can really influence your industry? Are they the ones who can help your podcast? What do you want to do with them? Pay them to talk about your podcast or take an interview with them hoping to get shared on their social channel without paying their time and effort? Well, do you see how many things you need to take into consideration before jumping into the influencer marketing strategy?
  2. Dedicated Landing Page – This is something that will convert the user. But only if it’s something that the user will find interesting. And here comes the questions: why do you want to have a dedicated landing page? Do you want to have a better brand awareness? Do you want to convert the users in subscribers? Do you want to act like a lead generator? Exactly. And other dozens of questions that I had in my mind when we got stuck with our podcast.
  3. Transcript – When audio meets SEO. There are products like oTranscribe that can help you create your blog posts from your podcast episodes. So you can rely on SEO and the power of blogging to promote your audio. I’m not saying that it’s a bad strategy, but I want to assure you that we are human beings and we don’t create content just for the sake of Google. So, whenever you transcript your audio, make sure that it’s for the  user who is looking for a quality piece of content to consume.

We’ve done all the three things above with our podcast and it still didn’t work.

So we stopped it and began focusing on the things we could do better: create 10x content, talk with our audience inside the app and use social media to engage with our community.

And we already see the results. Bigger web traffic, more users and also more leads.

We are doing it constantly, so we can see the positive results and the increase of our business.

Lesson learned:

do the things you are good at and don’t get trapped by the monster-trend.

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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo